Tag Archives: Supplements

Now That Baby is Here

Now That Baby is Here:

Basics of Postpartum Care to Feel and Function Better

So now that your baby is here you probably feel like you can finally have your body back and start feeling fit and energetic again. Well, sometimes it is not that easy. For a lot of women, the next year can be a struggle. Not only figuring out how to care for another tiny human, but also in figuring out how to feel healthy again. This article will give you some advice to help you feel the way you want to feel, faster.  Pregnancy, labor, and delivery can put your body through a lot of stress, physically, emotionally, and chemically.  Now that you can hold your beautiful new baby, all of your attention is now focused on what he or she needs at every moment. However, some attention should be placed back on you and how you can heal and function your best in this fourth trimester.


Immediately after giving birth should be a time of rest and cuddles with baby. For the first few weeks after birth the wound from your placenta detaching is still healing (up to 4-6 weeks) and your organs are figuring out how to position themselves properly in your abdominal cavity again. Your body needs rest, hydration and nutrients for this to occur optimally. However, there are things you can do while you are allowing yourself to heal.

  • Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic adjustments are the best way to get your body back in balance and help improve function quickly. You still have the hormone relaxin in your system for about nine months to one-year postpartum. This hormone is what allowed your ligaments to loosen in preparation for birth so your pelvis and sacrum could open up during delivery. Therefore, your ligaments and joints are not as stable for about a year after giving birth. This makes it easier to become misaligned. These misalignments then interfere with your nervous system function so you are not able to function optimally. You may develop symptoms like pain, muscle tightness or weakness or a number of other things. Getting your body aligned with regular chiropractic adjustments will help your body to function better, and will prevent or relieve common pain in the neck, upper back, and shoulders that develops from nursing and carrying around a baby all day. Your muscles will also be able to engage properly so you can begin to rehabilitate your core and pelvic floor muscles.

  • Muscle Rehabilitation

Muscle imbalance and weakness after birth is present in all women. At some point during the third trimester of pregnancy all women develop some degree of diastasis recti. This is a separation in the abdominal tissue that weakens the core and causes pelvic floor dysfunction along with a number of other symptoms such as low back and pelvic pain and possibly digestive issues. I have a previous blog post just on diastasis recti if you would like more information on this (here).  Exercise to heal your diastasis can begin as early as one to three weeks postpartum. I talk about some of these exercises in my previous blog post (active sitting, active standing, squats, bridge, etc). Healing your diastasis and reestablishing proper core function will help reestablish proper pelvic floor function as well. You can not have proper pelvic floor function without a properly functioning core. That is why it is so important to focus on only performing tummy safe activities to heal your diastasis quickly.

However, just healing your core may not be all you need for proper pelvic floor function. Often times scar tissue develops, especially if there was a tear during delivery. There could be damage to the musculature or nervous system so the musculature does not engage or activate the way that it should, which may result in prolapse or incontinence. Again, it is important to have your pelvis aligned by a chiropractic adjustment. During labor your pelvis opens and the ischium (your sit bones) separate and open up to allow for the baby to descend through the pelvis. Sometimes they do not come back together the way they should. This position can put an abnormal stretch on the pelvic floor muscles so that they have difficulty activating and maintaining proper tone. Once the pelvis is properly aligned, it is a good idea to see a female pelvic floor physical therapist. She can help release any scar tissue and relieve any tightness or muscle imbalance. She will also be able to work with you to reactivate all of your pelvic floor muscles and give you exercises to build back strength and proper function.


Just like during your pregnancy, the nutrition you provide your body is extremely important. Make sure that you are following your provider’s recommendation for supplements based on your specific needs. There are, however, general supplements that everyone should consider including in their regimen.

  • Collagen Peptides

Collagen Peptides are a good way to get a full spectrum of amino acids that will help heal tissue and support joints, muscles, skin, digestion. Collagen Peptides are a bit more convenient than gelatin because they can be mixed in to any drink at room temperature and does not require hot liquid like gelatin. Vital Proteins is a good brand that is now sold at Sprouts, Whole Foods and Natural Grocers.

  • Probiotics

Probiotics are important to help break down foods. Taking probiotics not only improves your digestive health but will help establish good digestive health for your baby. Probiotics help brain function, immune function and can help decrease inflammation. I recommend to my clients that they take a supplement with at least five different strains of bacteria and at least 15 billion active populations.

  • Digestive Enzymes

Along with this I also recommend a digestive enzymes supplement to help break down foods more completely which may help prevent your newborn form developing colic or gassiness. If you are not breaking down your food, those larger food molecules are then ending up in your milk supply and make it harder for your baby to digest.

  • Fish Oil (omega-3)

Your baby is also still forming most of his or her nervous system (80% is created in the first two years of life). So it is important that you take a fish oil or omega-3 supplement to provide enough good fats to promote optimal nervous system development. Fish oil will also help your brain and nervous system function as well as decreasing overall inflammation levels.


Many women have difficulty emotionally after giving birth. Whether it is the baby blues or depression or anxiety, many women need support. It is important for you, your friends, and family to be able to spot signs that you need support or help. It can be hard while you are in a certain mental state to identify what is happening, but even just having enough awareness that something is not right can lead to you reaching out for the help that you need and deserve. There are professionals that can help such as a postpartum doula or a counselor or therapist that specializes in postpartum anxiety and depression. Medications are an available option that should not be looked down upon or judged. Sometimes those temporary solutions are necessary.

There are supplements and natural means to help improve postpartum anxiety or depression. GLA is a supplement that I have seen help in a lot of cases for anxiety and depression. Fish oil and probiotics have been shown to help as well. Essential oils can boost mood and help emotional health. Young Living has a wide range of essential oil blends such as Joy or Stress Away that help support emotional health. Frankincense is a single oil that works directly on the brain and can have an uplifting and calming effect. CBD oil has also been shown to improve symptoms of depression and anxiety. Exercise, sunlight, and fresh air also can have a big positive impact on mood and emotional health.

Newborns require a lot of attention and are completely dependent on you to provide for every need. However, it is vital to make sure that your physical, nutritional, and emotional needs are being met as well.

The Most Important Supplement You Aren’t Taking

We welcome a new product into our office this week: Vital Proteins Gelatin and Collagen Peptides! This supplement is critical for many functions in the body, and the standard American diet leaves us COMPLETELY lacking.

So let’s learn about COLLAGEN and why it is so beneficial to your health. Collagen is the main protein structure in connective tissue in animals and humans. Collagen is found throughout the whole body including in bones, cartilage, skin, fascia, blood vessels, intervertebral discs, muscles, ligaments, tendons, the digestive tract and teeth. Collagen is composed of a variety of amino acids, but has higher amounts of glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. Glycine is anti-inflammatory. It helps wound healing and can even improve sleep. Proline is essential for maintaining lean muscle mass and is helpful to building cartilage, maintaining healthy tight skin and healing injury. The amino acids found in the gelatin or collagen peptides can also improve gut health by increasing stomach acid, healing stomach ulcers, seals and heals the gut lining, and can help break down food more effectively.

Whole collagen protein is traditional beef gelatin. This whole protein will gel quickly in cold liquids. It can be used to make a variety of tasty foods and healthy candy alternatives. Collagen proteins takes longer to digest. This however allows for more water to be drawn to the digestive tract and allows for potentially more gut health benefits.

Collagen peptides are similar in amino acid profile, but the protein has been enzymatically hydrolyzed. This means that enzymes have broken down the whole protein into smaller parts. The peptides do not gel in liquids and are more quickly digested and absorbed. One of the great things about the Vital Protein Collagen Peptides is that it has such a neutral flavor that you can mix two scoops into your cold drinking water and you will hardly know there has been anything added to your water. You get all the great benefits of consuming collagen without the beefy taste.

Collagen is vital for building and maintaining healthy skin, hair, nails, bones, joints, lean muscle, intervertebral discs, ligaments, tendons, and digestive tract. Vital Proteins webpage states that

“Collagen helps to build and repair our bones, joint surfaces, skin, teeth, eyes, arteries, intervertebral disks, and much more. Collagen is needed to ensure a strong body and to help you to continually heal.”

Vital Protein Gelatin or Collagen Peptides is a great way to increase your protein intake especially while pregnant or for athletes. The collagen will provide your body with essential and conditionally essential amino acids that your body needs to perform and function better. For those with joint pain and arthritis, increasing your collagen intake can help support and strengthen bone, ligament and cartilage to reduce joint pain.

Vital Proteins provides pure grass-fed pasture raised collagen peptides and gelatin with no artificial ingredients or additives. Vital Proteins state:

“Our cows are pasture-raised on strictly grass-fed and finished diets and are not injected with any hormones as they are not milk generating herds. We naturally process the collagen through a water and enzymatically hydrolyzed process which helps break down the protein without losing nutrients or adding artificial substances. This ensures a purely finished product that is of the highest quality and standard.”

We now offer Vital Proteins Gelatin and Collagen Peptides locally at the office so that you can begin to experience the great health benefits!

More questions? Give us a call at 972-922-5493 or email info@dodgefamilychiropractic.com to ask!

Wellness Considerations for Healthy Aging

*This blog post is an adaptation of the wellness talk Dr. Dodge gave to the Coppell Senior and Community Center in July of 2012

My grandparents, dancing at my wedding in 2008

Wellness Considerations for Healthy Aging

There are many factors that contribute to developing and maintaining health. As we age, our lifestyle choices become more important to ensure that we age in a healthy manner. “Sleeping regularly and adequately, eating well-balanced meals, engaging in physical activity, not smoking, not using or moderately using alcohol, and maintaining a healthy body weight”[i] are a few healthy habits and lifestyle choices that can help us all age well. These suggestions may be some things that you have heard before, but it is important to understand them and know how to implement them correctly in your life to age as healthily as possible.

Sleep As we age, our bodies tend to need less sleep. However, getting adequate sleep is important for your body to repair, rest, and re-energize from daily activities. Your body also uses this time to process and store memories and events from the day. These memories and events are moved from short-term memory storage into long-term storage and your brain helps to organize the information that was learned through the day. Not getting enough regular sleep can lead to decreased immune system functioning and put you more at risk for developing short-term and chronic disease processes.

Exercise Engaging in physical activity is another crucial part of maintaining health while we age. Physical activity has innumerable health benefits including decreasing body weight; increasing flexibility, endurance, and balance; extending life; improving cardiovascular health and blood pressure; lowering lipid levels in the blood, improving sleep quality; improving posture and mobility; increasing blood flow to the brain and maintaining mental ability; alleviating depression, maintaining muscle mass, and maintaining balance and coordination.1 Through the aging process, adults lose muscle mass and strength, as well as balance and coordination. Physical activity helps to counter act this by maintaining muscle mass as well as allowing your brain to be able to better tell where your body is in space, therefore maintaining balance and coordination. For those who have not been physically active, it is a good idea to start slow and ease into a routine. Below is a table taken from Rolfes’ Understanding Nutrition (2005)i that gives a few suggestions on how to ease into a work out routine. Beginning too quickly or pushing past what the body is use to or capable of is dangerous. This could cause injury that may have negative affects on ones short- or long-term health. It may feel like starting out so slowly is not enough physical activity. However, a gradual build in the amount, time and intensity of a work out routine will allow the body to adapt more easily, prevent against muscle soreness, and prevent other health complications that would inhibit any further progression in your physical activity.


Exercise Guidelines for Older Adults
Examples Endurance Strength Balance Flexibility
Start Easy Be active 5 minutes on most or all days Using 0-2 pound weights do 1 set of 8 repetitions twice a week Hold onto a table or chair with one hand, then with one finger Hold stretch 10 seconds: each stretch 3 times
Progress gradually to goal Be active 30 minutes on most or all days Increase weight as able; do 2 sets of 8-15 repetitions twice a week Do not hold onto table or chair; then close eyes Hold stretch 30 seconds; do each stretch 5 times
Cautions and comments Stop if you are breathing so hard you can’t talk or if you feel dizziness or chest pain Breathe out as you contract and in as you relax (do not hold your breath); use smooth, steady movements Incorporate balance techniques with strength exercises as you progress Stretch after strength and endurance exercises for 20 minutes, 3 times a week; use slow, steady movements; bend joints slightly


Nutritional Deficiencies Proper nutrition from a well-balanced meal plan is essential for healthy aging as well as a healthy lifestyle in general. As we age we need to be aware of some possible nutritional deficiencies that become more common. The immune system can be highly compromised if nutritional deficiencies exist. As we age, absorption of B vitamins such as B12, Folate, and Biotin may decrease. Calcium, iron and zinc absorption can become diminished as well, primarily due to developing inflammation in the stomach and digestive tract. These deficiencies can be addressed with proper supplementation as well as restoring proper digestive function by reducing inflammation. Vitamin D is another nutrient of concern that may become deficient as we age. Older adults tend to not spend enough time outside to allow adequate time for the skin to produce Vitamin D. Aging also reduces the skin’s capacity to make Vitamin D and the kidneys’ ability to convert it to its active form. Therefore it is important to supplement this with a high quality form of Vitamin D3. Vitamin D helps with supporting the immune system, maintaining important brain function, balancing calcium and phosphorous to help maintain bone health, and helping to prevent many other diseases. Water is another very important part of healthy nutrition and is vital to all the chemical reactions and functioning of the whole body. As we age we tend to not drink as much water because of several different reasons. Some older adults become more incontinent or have more frequent urges to urinate and do not want the inconvenience of getting up to use the bathroom frequently. In the case of incontinence, it would be of great benefit to seek out a physical therapist who specializes in restoring pelvic floor musculature. Many older adults also lose the sense and recognition of thirst and just do not think to drink water or realize their body needs more hydration. In these hot summer months it is even more important to remember to stay hydrated. Older adults tend to be more dehydrated and can dehydrate even more quickly in the heat. This can be dangerous because when older adults are dehydrated they are more susceptible to urinary tract infections, pneumonia, pressure ulcers, confusion and disorientation. It is important to drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day.

Digestive Health It was mentioned earlier that as we age some nutritional deficiencies might be due to inflammation in the digestive tract. We need to make sure that our digestive tracts are functioning properly to allow for absorption of all the nutrients we intake. As we age we tend to develop more digestive issues, many related to inflammation that develops in the stomach, small intestine and large intestine. Many symptoms that occur after we eat foods can indicate that we may have inflammation in our digestive tract. Things such as bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, pain, etc. can show us that our digestive tract is not functioning the way that it should. There is a simple four step process that can be used to repair digestive function so that we can more effectively digest foods and absorb essential nutrients.

Four Step Digestive System Repair

1) Remove – Remove any potentially stressful or inflammatory foods and drinks from you diet i.e. sugar, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, coloring and flavors, high fructose corn syrup, gluten, casein (dairy), antibiotics, antacids, anti-inflammatory drugs

2) Repair – Repair the damaged, inflamed tissue in the digestive tract by eating plenty of vegetables and fruits as well as adding tissue healing supplements such as Omega 3 fatty acids, GLA, Aloe Vera, turmeric, licorice root and L-glutamine

3) Restore – Restore healthy colonies of good bacteria in the digestive tract by utilizing a probiotic with high quantities of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium as well as providing a good environment for the healthy bacteria to flourish with a prebiotic.

4) Replace – Replace digestive enzymes with a high quality digestive enzymes supplement to improve digestion and absorption of necessary nutrients.


Healthy Eating In addition to having a fully functioning digestive system, it is important to eat good energy rich foods. It is important to eat foods with higher quality nutrients that are not high in calories. Energy needs decline at about 5 percent each decade of life, because of lower energy expenditure and decreasing lean body mass.i So eating foods rich in nutrients and vitamins and minerals and limiting extra calories from sugars and processed foods is important. Having good sources of protein is important because it is a longer lasting energy source that helps to stabilize blood sugar and support a healthy immune system. Good sources of protein are things like poultry, fish, eggs, as well as a lot of nuts and legumes. Another important aspect to include in a healthy diet is quality carbohydrate foods that contain fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. Carbohydrates help to protect the protein you are eating from being used up; and they allow your body to have a shorter acting source of good energy. Good options for quality carbohydrates include legumes, vegetables, gluten-free whole grains like quinoa and whole grain brown rice, and low glycemic fruits, like pitted fruits, apples, and berries (avoid things like watermelon and other melons and tropical fruit which can cause a spike in blood sugar). Fiber from vegetables, fruits, and other quality carbohydrates help to lower cholesterol, improve digestion and digestive regularity, and prevent against constipation. Having good fats in your diet is vital to support your nervous system and are essential for cell structure throughout your body. Good fats are anything that contains Omega 3, 6, EPA, DHA, GLA. You can get these from coconut oil, olive oil, almond or safflower oil, by eating fish, or taking a high quality fish oil or essential fatty acid supplement. Too much fat is never a good thing, especially if it is processed, or trans-fats. Processed foods use fat to improve flavor but do not usually use high quality good fats, they use saturated fats and trans-fats that are harder for your body to deal with and is more unhealthy.

Making healthy lifestyle choices can be difficult and takes dedication and persistence. However, in the end it is worth it so that you are able to maintain a healthy active life well into old age. Change does not have to come all at once though. Gradual changes in the foods you eat and your exercise routine will eventually lead to living a much healthier, happier life.


Supplements and Nutrition to Help Specific Conditions

Improve Short-term memory – Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin E

Performance in problem-solving tests – Riboflavin, Folate, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C

Mental Health – Thiamin, Niacin, Zinc, Folate

Cognition – Folate, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Iron, Vitamin E, Gingko

Vision – Vitamin A, Essential Fatty acids

Neurotransmitter Synthesis – Tyrosine, Truyptophan, Choline

Cataracts and Macular Degeneration – antioxidants, vitamins as well as zinc, carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin

Arthritis such as Rheumatoid Arthritis or Osteoarthritis – antioxidants like vitamin E and C, omega 3 fatty acids, as well as a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement

Bone Strength and Health – calcium and magnesium, weight baring and resistance exercise

Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias. – Eliminate artificial sweeteners like splenda and artificial colorings and flavors. B vitamins and Essential Fatty acids

Cardiovascular Health – Antioxidants, vitamin C, Vitamin E, B vitamins especially Vitamin B3 (niacin) omega fatty acids



i] Whitney, E., Rolfes, S.,( 2005). Understanding Nutrition. Thomson Wadsworth: Belmont, CA.